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Keeping our Connections
By: Senior Kindergarten Teacher Abbie Duvall
Quotes you may hear an SK teacher say in the classroom: “keep your hands to yourself,” “come to the rug,” “let’s read a book,” “time to line up,” and many more. What you hear an SK teacher say on a ZOOM call: “we can’t see you,” “don’t unmute yourself,” “can you hear me?” and “I miss you!” The phrases and dialogue are very different from our norm in the classroom. I catch myself saying “I miss you” every day because I miss my students and our Rossman community.
One of the many reasons I became a teacher was to try and connect with children. With our recent change to teaching online, it’s hard to maintain that connection and I truly miss them each and every day. Experiencing this change and adjustment has made me realize more than ever how connection and time spent with your students can make a world of difference in each other's lives. I am trying to create a way for my students to feel the positive presence of learning and connection during this difficult time.
Students won’t always remember an exact rule or lesson, but they will remember the fun memories they had with their teachers and classmates. I miss lunches with my students, opening the classroom door in the morning to say hello, the little hugs I get on a daily basis, but I want them to know our connection is not lost. Although things have changed for the time being, we need to remember it isn’t forever. There are ways we can keep our memories, connections and have fun even if we aren’t together at school.
School is about learning new skills and growing in our knowledge, but it is also about learning who we are as a person and how our relationships and actions shape us for the future. Without a connection to the classroom, the teachers and each other, our academics can become an annoyance or struggle. I never want my students to feel this way about learning, and that’s why helping them enjoy their learning is so important. My favorite and most informative years of my own schooling were always the ones where I felt safe and connected to my teacher.
Now, when you aren’t in a classroom and can’t actually physically be together, connection becomes a challenge. As educators we are determined to keep the connection going strong to help our students through this difficult time. We are working hard to find new and exciting ways to keep spirits high and remind our students we are here for them. Writing letters, making sure we say hi to each student when they enter our ZOOM lessons, and just making them smile on screen are ways to help them. When I record my lessons I ask questions to the blank screen, leave pauses for them to answer, make jokes and try to talk to them like they are there. I have even gone as far as posting dance videos to “GoNoddle” so we can “dance together.” These actions have allowed me to find some normalcy during this time but also keep the connection I have as a teacher.
Things are changing daily but remembering the importance of staying connected to one another and allowing ourselves to have fun and be silly will help our students’ education grow as well as our own. Being a part of our Rossman community is a huge blessing and one that has helped me grow as an educator but also as a person. I hope through this time we use our memories and connections to keep our Rossman community happy and strong.
Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in St. Louis, is a private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills. Request a free Rossman School brochure here.